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India: Table B. Chronology of Important Events
Country Study > Table B. Chronology of Important Events


Ancient Empires

ca. 2500-1600 B.C. - Indus Valley culture.

ca. 1500-500 B.C. - Migrations of Aryan-speaking tribes; the Vedic Age.

ca. 1000 B.C. - Settlement of Bengal by Dravidian-speaking peoples.

ca. 563-ca. 483 B.C. - Life of Siddartha Gautama -- the Buddha; founding of Buddhism.

ca. 326-184 B.C. - Mauryan Empire; reign of Ashoka (269-232 B.C.); spread of Buddhism.

ca. 180 B.C.-A.D. 150 - Shaka dynasties in Indus Valley.

ca. A.D. 320-550 - Gupta Empire; classical age in North India.

606-47 - North Indian empire of Harsha.

711 - Arab invaders conquer Sindh, establish Islamic presence in India.

750-1150 - Pala Dynasty.

1150-1202 - Sena Dynasty.


997-1027 - Mahmud of Ghazni raids Indian subcontinent from Afghanistan.

1202 - Turkish conquerors defeat Sena Dynasty and overrun Bengal.

1206-1398 - Delhi Sultanate.

1398 - Timur sacks Delhi.

1414-50 - Sayyid Dynasty; renewal of Delhi Sultanate.

1451-1526 - Lodi Dynasty.


1526 - Babur lays foundation of Mughal Empire; wins First Battle of Panipat.

1556-1605 - Akbar expands and reforms the empire; Mughals win Second Battle of Panipat.

1605-27 - Reign of Jahangir; in 1612 East India Company opens first trading post (factory).

1628-58 - Reign of Shah Jahan.

1658-1707 - Reign of Aurangzeb, last great Mughal ruler.

1707-1858 - Lesser emperors; decline of the Mughal Empire.


1757 - Battle of Plassey -- British victory over Mughal forces in Bengal; British rule in India begins.

1835 - Institution of British education and other reform measures.

1857-58 - Revolt of Indian sepoys (soldiers) against East India Company.

1858 - East India Company dissolved; rule of India under the British crown -- the British Raj -- begins with Government of India Act; formal end of Mughal Empire.

1885 - Indian National Congress (Congress) formed.

1905 - Partition of Bengal into separate provinces of Eastern Bengal and Assam, West Bengal.

1906 - All-India Muslim League (Muslim League) founded.

1909 - Morley-Minto Reforms; separate electorates for Muslims.

1912 - Partition of Bengal annulled; new province of Bihar and Orissa formed; plans to move capital from Calcutta to Delhi announced.

1916 - Congress-League Scheme of Reforms (often referred to as Lucknow Pact) signed.

1919 - Montagu-Chelmsford Reforms; Government of India Act.

1935 - Government of India Act of 1935.

1940 - Muslim League adopts Lahore Resolution; "Two Nations" theory articulated by Muslim League leader Mohammad Ali Jinnah and others.

August 16, 1946 - "Direct Action Day" of Muslim League.


August 15, 1947 - Partition of British India; India achieves independence and incorporates West Bengal and Assam; Jawaharlal Nehru becomes prime minister of India. Pakistan is created and incorporates East Bengal (the East Wing, or East Pakistan) and territory in the northwest (the West Wing, or West Pakistan); Jinnah becomes governor general of Pakistan.

August 15, 1947-May 27, 1964 - Jawaharlal Nehru serves as prime minister and leader of Congress-controlled government.

October 22, 1947-January 1, 1949 - Undeclared war with Pakistan; ends with United Nations-arranged ceasefire.

January 30, 1948 - Mahatma Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi.

October 20-November 21, 1962 - Border war with China.

June 9, 1964-January 11, 1966 - Lal Bhadur Shastri serves as prime minister of Congress-led government.

August 5-September 23, 1965 - Second war with Pakistan.

January 24, 1966-March 24, 1977 - Indira Gandhi serves as prime minister for first time, head of government initially led by Congress, later Congress (R).

December 3-16, 1971 - Third war with Pakistan; Bangladesh becomes independent following Indian invasion of East Pakistan.

June 25, 1975-January 18, 1977 - State of Emergency proclaimed by Indira Gandhi.

March 24, 1977-July 28, 1979 - Morarji Desai serves as prime minister as head of a multiparty front, Janata Party, India's first non-Congress government.

July 28, 1979-January 14, 1980 - Chaudhury Charan Singh serves as prime minister as head of a Janata-led coalition government.

January 14, 1980-October 31, 1984 - Indira Ganhdi serves as prime minister for second time, head of Congress (I) government.

October 31, 1984 - Indira Gandhi assassinated in New Delhi.

October 31, 1984-December 2, 1989 - Rajiv Gandhi serves as prime minister of Congress (I)-led government.

December 2, 1989-November 7, 1990 - Vishwanath Pratap Singh serves as prime minister of National Front-led coalition government.

November 10, 1990-June 20, 1991 - Chandra Shekhar serves as prime minister, heading Samajwadi Janata Party government.

May 21, 1991 - Rajiv Gandhi assassinated near Madras.

June 20, 1991-May 15, 1996 - P.V. Narasimha Rao serves as prime minister of Congress (I)-led government.

December 6, 1992 - Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh, destroyed by Hindu activists.

January-March 1993 - Communal violence in wake of Babri Masjid destruction wracks Indian cities, especially Bombay, which suffered from a series of bomb blasts in March.

May 1995 - Unpopular Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act of 1985 allowed to lapse

April 27-May 7, 1996 - General elections for Lok Sabha oust Congress (I) government of P.V. Narasimha Rao.

May 15-28, 1996 - Minority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee resigns after thirteen days.

June 1, 1996 - Haradanahalli (H.D.) Deve Gowda, head of thirteen-party United Front, sworn in as India's eleventh prime minster.

Data as of September 1995

Last Updated: September 1995

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for India was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

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